Judy

posted by Madame Bubby


I was dating a part time fireman in Milwaukee some time ago, and he made a comment that the gay guys in one bar should have gotten out more, rather than sitting inside said bar and listening to Judy Garland. (A rather ironic comment, I might say, as he spent 12 hours Saturday and Sunday inside bars himself, but he of course was better than listening to Judy.) Our romance was intense but ephemeral. He was, I found out via the internet many years later, after getting his dream job as a full-time fireman, arrested for drunk driving.

And some time ago, a former friend opera queen type decided to become an older gay “auntie” type and teach me Gay 101. I fit the opera queen stereotype, but he seemed put out that I showed very little interest in Broadway and the “older” female popular singers who were gay icons. And number one on that list was Judy. He bought me the CD Judy at Carnegie Hall. One could say I failed to understand its significance. I ended up giving it away. At that point, Judy’s significance for me was her role in The Wizard of Oz.

(And in that movie, I was more interested in Margaret Hamilton’s tour de force as the Wicked Witch of the West.) And of course I was supposed to think that Stonewall was caused by all those closeted “sweater” gays in tight trousers upset about the death of Judy Garland. (No, that was not the reason.)
 

Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall CD cover

Fast forward many years later. The younger gays’ divas include figures such as Lady Gaga (significant because she starred in a remake of A Star Is Born, one of Judy’s most famous movies and performances) and someone named Lizzo (I found out about her only because I joined Twitter). I live in the past. Perhaps many younger gays are into Judy, Barbra, or even Ethel. Perhaps.

Perhaps. I admit I did go through a brief Ethel Merman phase about the time I failed to worship Judy, mostly because I was fascinated by the famous conductor Toscannini, after hearing her, saying she was a castrato. It was the voice.

And now my love affair with the female voice includes Judy, mostly because of one book and because of youtube. Henry Pleasants, the late great music critic, wrote a book The Great American Popular Singers, which I think managed to pierce to the beating heart of the matter (and in Judy case, that heart one could say ended up killing her more than the pills), when he reflected that she “had the most utterly natural vocal production … it was an open-throated, almost birdlike vocal production, clear, pure, resonant, innocent.”
 

Henry Pleasant's Great American Singers book cover

The innocence of what became her anthem of the heart, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, always remained inherent in all her performances: more than emotional honesty, more than the bond of love she experienced with her live audiences, gay and straight, that reached a type of apotheosis in that Carnegie Hall performance I have since listened to again and again in conjunction with youtube clips of the short-lived Judy Garland Show.

Judy, born with that immense talent, it’s true, never really experienced that idealized innocence as a child. (Who has, really?), according to the admittedly at times very depressing bios (the stage mother, the closeted gay father, the pills, the sexual harassment at MGM, all those men, yes, the gay and straight and bi husbands, in her life) I recently read. By the time she was 18, she experienced, suffered, more than what most persons experience in a lifetime.

Yet I think it’s too easy to get swept up in all the over the top, truly frightening personal drama of her life, because in her case, life and art aren’t mutually exclusive categories.

I now, perhaps because I’m in a different point in my life (yes, I’ve lived, lived, lived in my own way) can really hear the voice (I always appreciated the lustrous beauty of her lyric contralto in its prime), but now the art that in her case is organically a part of that voice. I thank youtube, because I was able to see and hear her performance of “Old Man River” on The Judy Garland Show.
 

Judy Garland performing Old Man River

Give a listen. Take a look. She doesn’t just sell that song. She doesn’t just intuitively understand the style of that song which is often treated as an operatic aria or a piece of campy cultural appropriation. It’s her, and she’s doesn’t need, like some divas, all the glittery trappings which are now Instagram and other social medias to portray her image. She’s no illusion here. She is the song.

When she sings “land in jail,” it’s not a phrase to show off low chesty notes, sung in a melodramatic way. Just in those words is heartbreak, resignation, even a bit of wry humor, a twinge of hope that she’ll get out of jail, the river will keep rolling along, and just maybe, and in her case, tragically, she might herself find the elusive love over the rainbow.

She did find that love when she sang to her audiences. Or rather, when she is singing, because she still is.
 

Judy Garland Wizard of Oz image

(P.S. I haven’t seen the movie with Renee Zwelleger, yet.)

Sources:

Anne Edwards, Judy Garland

Gerald Clarke, Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland

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Retrostuds of the Past: Focus on Malo, aka Arnaldo Santana

By Madam Bubby
 

Malo

Malo is pretty much an icon in the Bijou Video filmography, despite his brief adult film career. A strong actor with a handsome face, commanding screen presence, and a chiseled physique, he highly memorably appeared in Jack Deveau's Hand in Hand Films classics A Night at the Adonis (DVD | VOD), Dune Buddies (DVD | VOD), and The Boys From Riverside Drive (DVD | VOD); in the first two, in leading roles, and paired in a sex scene with superstar Jack Wrangler in the third.

Malo on the set of Dune Buddies
Malo on the set of Dune Buddies
 
Malo with co-stars Larry Paige and Garry Hunt in Dune Buddies
Malo with co-stars Larry Paige and Garry Hunt in Dune Buddies
 
Malo and Jack Wrangler being filmed by Jack Deveau for The Boys from Riverside Drive
Malo and Jack Wrangler being filmed by Jack Deveau for The Boys From Riverside Drive

Malo and Jack Wrangler in The Boys From Riverside Drive
Malo and Jack Wrangler, whose sex scene kicks off The Boys From Riverside Drive

Along with the compelling line delivery and character work he gets to do in both Adonis and Dune Buddies, his sex scenes sizzle with electric sexual tension. In A Night at the Adonis, his sequences in barber chair with Jayson MacBride and in the orgy, paired with Geraldo, are highlights. And in all three films, he wields a stunningly beautiful uncut cock.

Malo and Jayson MacBride in A Night at the Adonis
Malo and Jayson MacBride in A Night at the Adonis
Malo and Jayson MacBride in A Night at the Adonis
Malo and Geraldo in A Night at the Adonis
Malo and Geraldo in A Night at the Adonis
Malo and Geraldo in A Night at the Adonis
Malo, Jayson MacBride, and Geraldo in A Night at the Adonis

Not only is his cock stunningly beautiful. His overall physical beauty made quite an impression on many viewers when he appeared in the movie Cruising under his real (and mainstream performing) name, Arnaldo Santana. Yes, Cruising, the controversial Al Pacino movie.

There, he plays Loren Lukas, the first victim of the psycho killer. Young macho beauty (especially his perfect bubble butt which could have been lifted from a Greek statue of Apollo) violently mutilated. The whip the psycho runs across him seems almost ancillary in this scene which seems to find its orgasm in the knife penetrating the flesh, not a hole in the body. Check out the scene on YouTube; go to about 11:30 to see Malo in his beautiful agony (if you're not squeamish).

Loren Lukas at a leather bar in Cruising
Loren Lukas, afraid, in Cruising
Loren Lukas with a knife to his throat in Cruising
Malo/Arnaldo Santana in Cruising

And, believe it or not, Arnaldo was a friend of Pacino's, and Al got him a part in the movie Scarface - as his bodyguard, Ernie. According to imdb, “his acting career took a nose-dive when the handsome, muscular Santana gained over 100 pounds and became a heavy-set character actor," though Scarface was his most prominent film. You can see him as Ernie in this YouTube clip.

Ernie in Scarface
Ernie and Tony Montana (Al Pacino) in Scarface
Malo/Arnaldo Santana and Al Pacino in Scarface

In the year following Scarface, 1984, Santana appeared as recurring character Hector Del Gato in all six episodes of comedian Paul Rodriguez's Norman Lear-produced sitcom (with a one-season run), a.k.a. Pablo, about a Mexican-American family in California. Malo/Santana can be seen throughout the opening credits sequence for the show here on YouTube.

Malo/Arnaldo Santana in a.k.a Pablo
Malo/Arnaldo Santana and Paul Rodriguez in a.k.a. Pablo

Other than a handful of additional details on imdb - references to his roles in films and television (also including Rage of Angels), this interesting list of his theater work (which explains his acting talent), mention of his birth (9/1/50, El Paso) and death (10/9/87, NYC) dates and locations, and a few other facts - I have found no biographical information about Arnaldo Santana.

But as Malo, he is an iconic figure from that first period of gay liberation in the 1970s, when sex was popping out of every nook and cranny. What was hiding in the shadows became passionately, violently free.

Malo
Malo in A Night at the Adonis
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